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Yankees 9, Rangers 10: Defense, Bullpen spoil comeback, Heathcott debut

It was a wild ride, but the Yankees fell just short against the Texas Rangers in the first matchup of a three-game series.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Having lost the last three and seven of their last ten, the Yankees sent Big Mike to do some damage control against Colby Lewis and the Texas Rangers. Bad defense, some ill-timed mistakes by Pineda, and some ugly relief on both sides made Friday's game a fun, yet disheartening loss.

Nothing major happened during the first inning. In the second, the Yankees caught a break as Elvis Andrus was caught stealing, a ruling that was upheld during a managerial challenge despite the video evidence suggesting Andrus was safe. The top of the third was regrettable, to say the least. Leonys Martin singled and Robinson Chirinos walked to start the inning. 2B Thomas Field laid a bunt down, and Pineda hesitated before making an errant throw to first that pulled Stephen Drew off the bag.

Next, Delino DeShields hit a chopper to short, which Didi Gregorius misplayed, allowing two runs to score. Shin Soo Choo plated a run on a single to center, and Prince Fielder followed with a three run jack to the second deck off a hanging slider from Big Mike. Mitch Moreland also sent one into the seats two batters later for a solo home run, making it a 7-0 ballgame.

In the bottom of the fourth, A-Rod started things off with a double over the head of Leonys Martin. Brian McCann doubled him in two batters later on a downright awful misplay from Choo in right. Colby Lewis then hit Chase Headley, and two batters later, Didi Gregorius hit an elevated slider into the seats for his first home run as a Yankee, a three-run blast. If someone heard John Sterling's call for the homer, please let us know what he said in the comment section.

Big Mike was able to recover very well after the nightmare third, pitching three scoreless innings to salvage what he could out of tonight's outing. He finished with seven runs (four earned) over six innings, with four strikeouts. A rejuvenated Prince Fielder hit a home run to dead center against lefty reliever Chasen Shreve, making it 8-4 going into the seventh inning stretch.

2009 first round pick Slade Heathcott started today for the first time in place of the banged up Jacoby Ellsbury, lining a double to left center in his first at bat. He made some good plays in the field and was able to get his wife and son into the ballpark to witness his big night. He reached on a catcher's interference call and singled on a hot grounder to Elvis Andrus in the seventh. Back to back singles from Beltran and A-Rod drove him in for his first major league run, and A-Rod's 1992nd RBI, tying The Great Bambino for fourth all time.

A-Rod's clutch hit chased Colby Lewis out of the game with two runners on base. The Rangers put lefty flamethrower Sam Freeman in, hoping to keep Mark Teixeira away from the short porch in right field. Tex grounded to second, leaving the score at 8-5 Rangers after seven.

Not to be outdone by the third inning implosion, Chasen Shreve surrendered a single before giving way to David Carpenter, who gave up two more runs on a double from Thomas Field. Headley's defensive woes continued, as he was caught cheating to the left before the pitch, which was lined down the line to his right. Carpenter, with all of his elite velocity, has struggled mightily this season, as his ERA jumped to 5.51.

You didn't think the bullpen troubles were over for the night, did you? After giving up two hard luck singles, Sam Freeman was lifted for the righty Tanner Scheppers to face Chris Young. Scheppers got Girardi Binder'd as Garrett Jones pinch hit for the pinch hitting Young and hit a three run homer to make it a 10-8 ballgame. Scheppers, like Carpenter, has completely forgotten how to pitch since 2013. Jones, like Didi, hit his first home run as a Yankee, also plating three on one swing.

In the bottom of the ninth, Rangers reliever Ross Olendorf retired A-Rod before giving up a home run to Mark Teixeira, his 13th on the season. He struck out Brian McCann, leaving it all up to Chase Headley who took some very tough pitches to draw a walk. Stephen Drew followed by lining a rocket back to Oldendorf, but it trickled right to the second baseman, who threw Drew out to end it. Sadly, the Yankees fell just short of completing a comeback of biblical proportions, after trailing 7-0 after three innings. Tomorrow, CC Sabathia squares up against Nick Martinez at 1:05 eastern time.